Tattoos look gross while healing and can scare some people into thinking that there's something wrong. As long as you take care of it and follow the instructions in the aftercare section of this website, your tattoo will look awesome! Here are a couple of commonly asked questions about your new tattoo that you may find helpful. If you have any questions, we are always available.
Why is my Tattoo Peeling and Flaking Off?
YOUR TATTOO WILL LOOK GROSS WHILE IT'S HEALING! Peeling and flaking of a new tattoo is perfectly normal. It's just the top layer of dead skin shedding off. Below are pictures of what your tattoo might look like while it's healing. Before it actually begins to peel, the tattoo will look like it's covered with a whitish, cracking film. Then you'll see white or translucent flakes of old, dead skin start to peel off and some of the flakes may even contain some ink. Sometimes you can actually see a duplicate image of part of your tattoo peeling off - it's rather disconcerting, but it is also perfectly normal and there is no need to panic. It's a lot like a snake shedding its skin. Just add a little lotion (a LITTLE) to the tattoo to help keep it moist and encourage those flakes to come off. DO NOT scratch, pick or peel them. Doing this will pull the ink out with it! It will all be done in a few days and the color of your tattoo will start to return to normal.
What Should I NOT do?
A new tattoo is an open wound, and needs to be treated as one. Engaging in actions such as swimming, tanning, removing the bandage early, and general disregard for it, is just asking for trouble. It is surprising just how easily it can get infected or scab up and lose color. Give the tattoo the time and attention it needs to properly heal. It's going to be on you for the rest of your life, and it only takes a few weeks of your attention to ensure it looks good forever! Additionally, if you wish to keep your tattoo looking as bright and vibrant as possible, avoiding the sun is necessary. Tattoos do not naturally change colors, but excessive exposure to sun makes this all but unavoidable. A sunblock of at least SPF 30 (I always use 60) should be applied religiously to any tattoo you wish to preserve. Ideally, the tattoo should be covered from the sun completely, but that is not always possible, but be aware that sun damages the tattoo, and the more sun, the more damage.
Things to Avoid While Your Tattoo Heals
You should never touch your new tattoo unless you're washing it and when you're doing that, it should always be with clean hands!
Don't apply petroleum based skin products to your tattoo.
Avoid swimming. Chlorine can leach color and dry out the still tender skin around your tattoo.
Don't soak in the tub. This can allow bacteria to penetrate the unhealed needle wounds.
Avoid exposing your new tattoo to direct sunlight. This can lead to fading and you could easily burn the unhealed skin.
Don't pick at your scabs or scratch/rub your tattoo.
Silver Skin (What is it)
"Silver Skin" is a phase in the healing process where your new tattoo will look shiny and dull. Once all the flakes have come off, your tattoo won't look as bright as when you first got it done. This is completely normal! When getting a tattoo, the needles are going in to the second layer of your skin (the dermal layer). During this process the top layer (the epidermis) is damaged. So after your peeling is done the silvery, dull look you see is dead skin on top of your new tattoo. Your body is repairing itself. Once its done and the dead skin has gone away, your tattoo will go back to being vibrant again. Tattoos look gross while healing and can scare some people in to thinking that there's something wrong. As long as you take care of it and follow the instructions in the aftercare section of this website, your tattoo will look awesome!
Some crusting or light scabbing is a normal part of the process but heavy scabs are not. If you have a scab that is visibly raised and feels “chunky” then you have a problem. Heavy scabs form when you do not thoroughly clean off all the plasma (clear slippery stuff oozing out of your new tattoo).
The first couple of washes after you get inked can be a little scary. Wash your skin with your fingertips and Dial antibacterial liquid pump bottle soap until it squeaks – this means you have removed all the plasma. Then apply ointment in a VERY LIGHT LAYER!
If heavy scabs form DO NOT PICK THEM or try to pry them loose or mess with them in any way – leave them alone!!!! Picking tattoo scabs can lead to scarring and the ink pulling out.
(and DO NOT PEEL YOUR TATTOO either – that interferes with the healing process – I know you want to peel it… believe me I know – but DON’T DO IT!! Let all that stuff flake off naturally)
Help your tattoo heal well by eating right...
Skin is an organ just like your liver and heart. In fact, skin is the body’s largest organ. You probably know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for your liver, and eating too much fast food is bad for your heart, but what do you know about skin health? Your skin is your body’s first line of defense against germs and infections, and can be a beautiful canvas for your tattoo as long as it’s well taken care of!
Caring for Your Skin: Before Your Tattoo
Taking proper care of your skin is one of the most important things you can do for your tattoo. Healthy skin care will help your tattoo live up to its full potential to be as vibrant and eye catching as it can be.
Eat a balanced diet:
Adopt a well balanced diet that does not exclude any food groups. Include grains, protein, fruits,
vegetables, and low fat dairy to be sure you are getting as many vitamins and minerals as you can. Limit added sugars to keep your skin clean and break-out free.
Antioxidants: You may have heard that antioxidants are cancer-fighting agents. What you heard is true, and they do this by stabilizing “free radicals,” or unstable cells that can damage organs. This means they also help to keep your skin healthy (remember your skin is an organ, too!). Vitamins A, C, E, and selenium (a mineral) function as antioxidants.
Vitamin A: Carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, butternut squash, dark leafy green vegetables, fortified milk.
Vitamin C: citrus fruits, strawberries,
broccoli, bell peppers, & potatoes.
Vitamin E: Eggs, vegetable oil, nuts, seeds Selenium: Nuts, fish, seafood, whole grains, onions, garlic
Take Care During Your Tattoo:
Eating Right on the day of your tattoo is very important, you may be sitting for hours on end. To keep your blood sugar stable for all that time, it’s important to be prepared with snacks so that you don’t experience low blood sugars. This results in feeling weak, tired, and shaky.
Eat before you arrive: Don’t show up hungry for your appointment. Have a meal consisting of protein, whole grains, and a fruit or vegetable no more than an hour before your session. A turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with some berries on the side is a great pre-tattoo meal.
Snack on whole foods: Leave the processed junk food and sugary drinks at home. To keep your blood sugar stable and avoid “crashing,” choose foods with fiber and protein to keep you satisfied longer. Fresh or dried fruits (like apple slices, raisins) and veggies paired with nuts, peanut butter, or yogurt provide essential carbohydrates for energy as well as protein and fiber to satisfy your hunger and keep your blood sugar stable.
Don’t forget your water bottle: Even if you’re only sitting for a couple of hours, it’s easy to get dehydrated, which isn’t good for mental clarity or for your skin! Staying hydrated will keep you more alert during your tattoo. Water is the best choice for hydration. Sugary beverages like soda, sports drinks, and juice are unnecessary as long as you remember your wholesome snacks!
Caring for Your Skin after Your Tattoo:
It’s important to remember that a tattoo is done by puncturing the skin over and over again with a tiny needle. While it may be beautiful, it needs to heal just like any other wound and requires a little tender loving care. Important nutrients that aid in wound healing are Vitamin C, Zinc, & Iron.
Vitamin C: Helps in the production of collagen, a protein needed to rebuild and repair skin. Good sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers, & potatoes.
Zinc: Plays a role in the structural component of proteins in the body, including the skin. Good sources of zinc include meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, milk, wheat germ, nuts, & legumes.
Iron: Needed for the production of red blood cells, this nutrient is key to ensure good blood flow to the injured area. Food sources of iron include meat, fish, poultry, dried fruits, and fortified orange juice and cereals. Pair an iron rich food with a food high in Vitamin C to enhance absorption.
Protect Your Skin in the Sun: Like we’ve been hearing for years, wear sunscreen, especially over your tattoos! Protecting your tattoos from sun damage will make the color last longer and stay vibrant.
DO NOT consult your friends or the internet if you have questions/problems. ALWAYS ask your artist. We are always available to help. Every persons case is different and asking advice from your friends who are not tattooers or searching google and finding horror stories does not help. It actually does the opposite!